Rational and cost-effective waste management

Capital costs decrease whilst transport costs increase


Financial/ Investment:

Investment in an Optical sorting plant depends on many factors.

  1. 1) Investment in premises (not included in key figures)
  2. 2) Sorting capacity/hour
  3. 3) Number of fractions
  4. 4) Extra plant and equipment
    • Larger intake volume
    • Pre-screen, automatic cleaning system, etc
    • Increased scope of control system
    • Bag opening and treatment of fractions


Key figures

Investment optical sorting: SEK 1,000 -1,330/annual tonnes.
Subject to depreciation over a ten-year period, the investment will depreciate by SEK 100-133/tonne + interest and operational costs.

These key figures are calculated and based on the following example:

A standard Optical sorting plant for approx. 30,000 annual tonnes for the sorting of two fractions – green bags with food waste and residual waste built for approx. SEK 30 million (2011).

A standard Optical sorting plant for approx. 30,000 annual tonnes for the sorting of 6 fractions built for approx. SEK 40 million (2011).


Financial / Operational costs

Operational costs consist of the following components:

1. 1) Personnel
2. 2) Service and spare parts
3. 3) Power, water, etc.


Financial / Collection costs

The total collection costs are the lowest for those municipalities which use optical sorting. Clearly, collection costs depend on the local authority’s organisation and the number of detached houses, blocks of flats and recreational residences as well as other similar household types of waste in the municipality. But efficiency is by far the most important factor.

Only those local authorities which haven’t decided in favour of increased source sorting (under their auspices) have lower collection costs. In other words, only one fraction is collected, and moreover referred to the FTI.

Optical sorting involves the collection of only one container with all fractions. There is a general household waste collection every second week for detached houses and weekly for blocks of flats and apartments. Opportunities for logistical planning and efficiency are best with this type of system. Here are some examples with key figures:

Municipality A, around 52,000 residents 1994-2004 had collection of 3 fractions – used 5 vehicles for collection of household waste

Municipality B, around 12,000 residents use 1.5 vehicles for the collection of household waste

Municipality C, around 55,000 residents use 6.5 vehicles for the collection of household waste

Municipality D, around 400,000 residents use 42 vehicles for the collection of household waste

On average, one can assume that a ratio of around 8,000-10,000 residents per collection vehicle.


Financial / Bag costs

Bag costs for an Optibag system can be SEK 0 – SEK 100/household and year.

Some local authorities do not distribute bags but use those bags which can be purchased in grocery stores, in which case the only costs incurred are for the start up package and information provided at the introductory phase.

Other local authorities have decided to distribute the green bag for food waste, but not for residual waste. In this case, a cost is incurred for the purchase and distribution of the green bag. Consumption is calculated at approx. 3 bags/household per week at a cost of SEK 0.3 (30 öre)/each = approx. SEK 45/year/household + distribution.

Borås municipality in Sweden has decided to also distribute a white bag for residual waste which results in an extra cost of approx.4 x 0.3 x 52 = SEK 65/household/year, thus totalling approx. SEK 110/household and year.

In those cases where several fractions are collected, such as plastic, metal, paper and newspapers, various local authorities have also chosen different alternatives ranging from free distribution to solutions whereby the subscriber purchases the bags at retail outlets. Bag consumption based on the free distribution of 5 bags is approx. 

Green bag for food waste 3 bags/week  - approx. 150 bags/year
Orange bag for plastics 1 bag/week – approx. 50 bags/year
Yellow bag for paper packagings 1 bag/week – approx. 50 bags/year
Blue bag for newspapers 1 bag/week – approx. 50 bags/year
Total approx. 300 bags/year/household = approx. SEK 90/household


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